By Jennifer Cunningham
Yes, the idea of crabs is funny. The reality, on the other hand—not so much. Safety-wise, responsible sex practices aren't any different than they were in college (i.e., cover your stump before you hump), except now there is a significantly larger pool of people with a greater wealth of sexual experience to possibly get STDs from. Though crabs don’t have quite the same cachet as the clap or inspire the same fear as HIV, they are a serious issue that needs some less than serious attention.
Since appearing on Earth 70,000 years ago, the pubic louse (not to be mistaken for its cousins the body louse and the head louse) has caused mammoth crotch itch for millions, from cavemen to college kids. Crabs get their name from the fact that under a very strong microscope, the little critters resemble crabs—a pretty terrifying thought if you think of them infesting your nether region en masse.
Generally, pubic lice like to eat at night, attaching their pinchers to hair follicles before feeding on your blood like randy little ticks. The itch from hell is what separates pubic lice from other common sexually transmitted diseases, like chlamydia or genital warts. Like your last boyfriend, “crabs” are parasites that cannot live without being attached to a live host. And these mites don’t discriminate.
So how can people protect themselves from this scourge? Not much besides abstinence, prayer, or examining a sex partner’s pubes with a magnifying glass before every session. Condoms don’t help either, according to Beth Collitt, a spokeswoman for Penn State’s University Health Services. Neither the Centers for Disease Control nor the National Institutes of Health keeps tabs on how many people are infected in the U.S., but across the pond in England, crabs are scuttling their way onto more and more college students every year. According to British newspaper reports, St. John’s College at O...